Speech to the Second Virginia Convention Rhetorical Appeals Activity

  • 10 pages
  • Subject: Ethos, Logos, Pathos, Rhetorical Devices, Lesson Plans and Educational Resources
  • Common Core Standards: RI.11-12.3, RI.11-12.5, RI.11-12.6, RI.11-12.9, RI.9-10.3, RI.9-10.5, RI.9-10.6, RI.9-10.9
  • Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12

Product Description

American colonial politician Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech before the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775. The topic was war and revolution. The gathered political body of 120 delegates—including such eminences as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington—had met to plan its next steps in the face of escalating tensions with the British government. Patrick Henry’s speech, delivered with immense rhetorical flare—and ethos, pathos, and logos in spades—calls for the raising of a militia against the British. His concluding statement provided the American revolution its rallying cry: “Give me Liberty or give me death!”

Skills: analysis, close reading, drawing inferences from text, examining the impact of diction on audience

About This Document

The Owl Eyes Rhetorical Appeals activity gives students an opportunity to practice examining and analyzing the Aristotelian rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos. Students will analyze selected rhetorical appeals from the text to determine which appeal they best represent and explain the appeal’s impact. The main components include the following:

  • A brief introduction to the text
  • A detailed handout on rhetorical appeals
  • A list of tips for spotting rhetorical appeals
  • A step-by-step guide to activity procedure
  • A detailed answer key for teachers

In completing this worksheet, students will be able to examine and analyze Aristotle’s three rhetorical appeals in order to evaluate works of rhetoric and the techniques they employ.